The meaning of the flag as told
Imam W. D. Mohammed
We have a new creation that is really the creation of the Honorable Elijah Muhammed, even though I may be given the credit for putting it together. Some of you, especially the sisters and brothers who were very close to him will remember the vision that he used to tell us about. He said that he saw a book and its letters were dimensional (they had depth). He also said that when he looked at the letters of the book, it appeared as though the letters were penetrating the book all the way through. These letters had a glow or an illumination. The only letter that he recognized was the Arabic letter lam.
The lam in Arabic is the letter "L." The Honorable Elijah Muhammed said that he recognized it because that letter seemed to have been all through the book and that it stood out all through the writing. When he told me that I listened very attentively to him as I always did, especially when he seemed to be really concerned about what he was talking about, or engrossed, so to speak, in what he was talking about. As I listened to him very closely, I was trying to interpret the vision that he was telling me about. There were others at the table that day when he talked about his vision. I said to myself, what can this lam stand for? What can it represent? I knew that there was no other book coming to Muslims after the Holy Qur'an, but the Holy Qur'an. So I knew that it could not mean that a physical book was coming after the Holy Qur'an to replace the Holy Qur'an. I understood him. I knew that he did not actually mean what we thought he was saying — he meant something else. He meant that a great understanding, a new way of looking at the book, was coming. So in our life, it would be like a new book coming in.
Then it came to me. I said, my father is telling us that the new book that is to come is really a new book to us because we have never known the Holy Qur'an, we have known the Bible. Most of us know much more about the Bible than we know about the Holy Qur'an. In fact, for most of the years of the Honorable Elijah Muhammed's leadership, he did not allow the Holy Qur'an to be preached or to be handed out freely among the believers, but he always held it up high as "the book." He said that the Holy Qur'an was the pure book, but he never encouraged us to really get into it. I knew that his vision of a new book was a vision of the Holy Qur'an, but it was vague in my mind. The idea or the thing that I was seeing had not taken complete form, so I put it aside.
While I was trying to think of a new drawing for the mosque blackboard, the picture came to form. I said that the vision should not be a drawing for the blackboard, but it should be the flag for the [then] Lost - Found Nation of Islam.
The flag is really a book, and the book is the Holy Qur'an. On the book is written "La ilaha il la lah," which means, there is nothing worthy of worship as a G'd but Allah, and, "Muhammed - un Rasulu-llah" which means, Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah. If you have some knowledge of the contents of the Holy Qur'an, you know that this first principle (kalimah) or pillar of faith is all through the Holy Qur'an from cover to cover. It dominates the whole Holy Qur'an. If you count the number of times that the letter lam is repeated in that kalimah, you will see that it stands out more than any other letter in the kalimah. When you look at it, you see lam before you see anything else.
So this was his vision. I think that the Honorable Elijah Muhammed should get the credit for this vision and I think that it is a flag that you all can identify with and be proud of. A new world needs a new flag. The Muslim world has come to be identified with the symbol of the crescent and the star, but when you read the Holy Qur'an you do not find any crescent and star in there.
So, the Muslims raised a ... sign, but they did not raise the sign upon orders from Prophet Muhammed. They raised it as an answer to the cross that was raised in war against them. What should we really exalt? What should we really raise? It is knowledge.
We know that emblems cannot save humanity and pictures and signs cannot save humanity. Men can look at the stars and the moon in the sky all their life, for generation after generation, until the land grows old and dead. That does not mean that they are going to be lifted up as a society. The savage, primitive man and woman see the sun, moon, and stars but what has made the difference? Knowledge.
The book of knowledge for the Muslims is the Holy Qur'an.
If we exalt anything other than knowledge, we exalt the wrong thing.